Modi govt urges oppn to allow smooth functioning of Parliament during budget

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The second phase of the budget session to be held from March 2 to April 3. Photo: iStock

Ahead of the forthcoming budget session of the Parliament, which is set to begin on January 31, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government has called for an all-party meeting on January 30 to request the opposition to co-operate for the smooth functioning of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha during the session.

Due to countrywide protests, it is expected that the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will ignite stormy discussions in both the Houses of the Parliament during the session.

The forthcoming session is scheduled to begin on January 31 with President’s address to the joint session of both Houses. The Economic Survey is also scheduled to be tabled in the Parliament on January 31.

The Union Budget 2020-21 will be presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Parliament on February 1. The Modi government feels the disruption of these important events should be avoided and all important issues should be discussed smoothly.

It is expected that the opposition will try to gain the upper hand during the forthcoming session as the government is on the backfoot over lingering CAA protests and decline in economic growth. The recent debacle of the BJP in Jharkhand Assembly election and the exit of BJP government in Maharashtra are expected to provide a boost of the opposition, led by the Congress. In addition, the political atmosphere is now surcharged due to heated election campaign ahead of the Delhi assembly elections.

Keeping this in mind, Prime Minister is expected to appeal for the smooth functioning of the session and also emphasise the same at the all-party meeting. On his part, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has also convened an all-party meeting on the same day.

The first phase of the budget session is scheduled until February 11. After the recess during which Parliamentary committees will look at budget allocation for various sectors, the second phase of the budget session to be held from March 2 to April 3.

Since the Lok Sabha election of 2019, budget sessions have witnessed controversial discussions and disruptions over the abrogation of Article 370 and the CAA. Though the budget session is usually devoted primarily to government business, mainly related to budget discussions, the opposition is expected to insist this time on discussing controversial issues mainly the CAA. When the second phase of the budget session begins, Delhi assembly election result will be out and the government will be pushed further on backfoot if the BJP loses the election as predicted by various pre-election surveys.